We are entering a new season and it is wonderful that nature likes to remind us that change is in the air. Kids have headed back to school, there is a Fall breeze in the air, and daylight hours are shortening.
"Change is the only constant in life." -Heraclitus
You may also be hopeful for some change in your life and you may be a little nervous about where to start. This can make you feel overwhelmed or anxious with all that it may require. To help you take on your fitness and/or nutrition change I'm going to walk you through a habit change example with the use of some top strategies from the book Atomic Habits.
If you have not already read Atomic Habits, I encourage you to do so. We will touch on a handful of the strategies as you consider what change you would like to see in your life.
1. Keep your change progression small then build.
2. Get extremely comfortable with progress not perfection.
3. Attach your new habit (your change) to a habit you are already doing.
4. Reward yourself after you complete the new habit.
5. Become that person.
6. Monitor and reflect on your progress
Let's say you would like to become more active and healthy through the use of power walking.
Strategy 1 - Keep your change habits small with an opportunity for progression.
Begin by walking 5 minutes Day 1 - 7, increase to 10 minutes Day 8-14, increase to 15 minutes Day 15-21. Do this until you hit your total power walking time.
Strategy 2 - Get extremely comfortable with progress not perfection. Say for example one of the days you planned on walking you run short on time and it is a day you were supposed to power walk 20 minutes but you only have time for 15. Guess what, you go out and power walk those 15 minutes, where previously you would have skipped it because it wasn't your perfect 20 minutes. That is progress.
Strategy 3 - Attach your new habit to a habit you are already doing. This is called habit stacking. Think of the things you absolutely do all the time without really thinking about it. Maybe it is your morning coffee, brushing your teeth, getting home and changing out of work clothes, etc. Let's say you would like to attach your power walk to changing out of your work clothes that is your new trigger to change directly into your power walking clothes and head out the door.
Strategy 4 - Reward yourself only after you complete your new habit. This is referred to as temptation bundling. Say you love a new show on Netflix or can't wait to get on Facebook or Instagram, you would tell yourself, "I have to take my power walk before I can watch my show or get on social media."
Strategy 5 - Identify as that person. We as humans identify much more to who we are as people and not really a habit. In this example you would say "I am a power walker."
Strategy 6 - Monitor and reflect on your progress. This is great for many reasons. Firstly, you don't know what more incremental progress to make until you know the progress you have already made. It can help keep you honest with yourself. It can help you with strategy 2 and serve as a reminder for all the great power walks and progress you have already made. It allows you an opportunity to learn from what is and what is not working. And my favorite, it allows you to celebrate your wins!
As a personal trainer we are not only fitness, nutrition and goal program designers but we are also strategists. I would love to help you strategize some healthy habits in your life.
Alta Acosta, Nutrition Director
NASM - Certified Personal Trainer
Precision Nutrition Coach
BASI - Pilates